April 30, 2020

For The Love of.......Irrfan!

#IrrfanKhan, #RIPIrrfanKhan, #Irrfan, #RIPIrfan, #RIPLegend, #IrfanKhan, #Tribute, #RIPIrrfanKhanSir, #RIPIrfanKhan, #Amwriting, #Blog #Blogger, #Blogging, #FirstLove, #Bollywood, #legend, #grief

एक छोटी सी हिंदी कविता: हमारे इरफ़ान 

April 29th, 2020

“Irrfan Khan passed away in Mumbai.” – 2:39 A.M.

Read: 6:25 A.M.

Today began with that message, sent about 4 hours before sunrise, from a friend in India. The urgency of sharing one’s grief with a confidant was palpable. This is what happens in times of personal loss. The first response while coping is to share your shock with someone else.

Maybe they would know how to make sense of this all!

But I did not know what to say. I read it, went back to bed, held my wife’s hand, who was still asleep and laid there with eyes wide open.

Yes, this felt personal. Very personal, indeed.

हम अपनों के हाथों ना मरने वाले मुन्ना, हमें कोई बहुताई बड़ा बदमाश मारे तो मारे.”

Instantly, the heart ached.

And continued to ache for the rest of the day. Life went about as usual. The office. The work. The routine.

But the Earth did not move. The world did not face a deadly and invisible foe. People did not bicker and trolled. COVID-19 became dormant. Communal, political, racial and xenophobic divides ceased to exist.

Shared grief. Shared memories. Shared laughter. Shared experiences. Nothing else.

सुनो पंडित, गोली वोली ना चल्लई तुमसे...मंतर फूँक के मार देयो...”


Irrfan passed away during the COVID-19 lockdown. This ruled out any excessive fanfare, funeral procession, incessant media coverage and all other grotesque ostentations associated with celebrity deaths. He left as quietly as he had arrived.

All of us have our favorite Irrfan moment, dialog, scene or a movie. But none of could exactly remember when Irrfan entered our conscience. 

In that sense, Irrfan is, like favorite music or first love. 

It almost does not matter when this love affair began and peaked; we are just grateful that it exists – like a beautiful prologue for our lives.

This also, immortalizes him.

The music ends, silence follows. First loves remain unfulfilled, life goes on. The sweet taste of nostalgia remains.


Not since the 2011 cricket World Cup triumph, do I recall, my world in such congruence. Although in grief, the harmony, especially nowadays, was still a sight to behold. Tributes, video clips, memories, status messages, personal and group chats, social media of every kind, was just about Irrfan.

Such is the power of this Artist, even when deceased. And I capitalize the A in Artist, intentionally.

He won hearts, and not until today, did many of us realize, how deep his performances had touched us. Today, one word that has been repeatedly used to describe Irrfan, has been, understated. While others might find it paradoxical for showbiz, I believe that is exactly what Irrfan aspired to be. Had he not been more about the characters he portrayed, than the actor that he was, he would not have connected the way he did.

And then, we would not have felt this hollowness and the void, that we are feeling today.

We never met, talked or interacted with him, but we knew someone who resembled someone that Irrfan had seamlessly played. He was the one. Some bristling student leader reminded us of, Ranvijay Singh, in Haasil and Maqbool felt like the Zenith of all complex mafia characters ever. We all wanted to be friends with that careless yet conscious and instantly lovable, 38-year-old bachelor, Monty, from the Life in a Metro, and we felt the conflict of that Pakistani patriot, Captain, from The Mighty Heart
We had met people who looked and sounded like Raj Batra from Hindi Medium and had been to schools that he was fighting against.

And in The Lunchbox, we saw the urban loneliness that we have, either seen, been living, or feared in the future.

He was the real Madari, who invited all of us in his immortal performances and we willfully participated.

So, who was acting in those 149 movies? The Jaipur born, NSD trained actor, who was probably living his long-harbored dreams, or the millions of Indians who saw themselves and their lives being portrayed, through him?

Indians, just Indians. No labels. No strata. Just a shared love, called Irrfan Khan!

And then came, today.

United, we stood, in grief and mourning the one human, among the stars. The one that looked like us.

Maybe just for a day, but, yet again, the Master Actor, diverted all of us from our earthly displeasures. and took us along on a ride to simpler times, like he had done countless times in those movies that embodied the soul of a nation -filled with laughter, some tears, and lots of nostalgia.

Tomorrow, we shall be divided again, and this time we will not have our shared bond.

The world would seem weaker and we, less loved.

Rest in Peace, Irrfan.

मुहब्बत है, इसलिए जाने दे रहें हैं...ज़िद होती तो बाहों में होते...”

#IrrfanKhan, #RIPIrrfanKhan, #Irrfan, #RIPIrfan, #RIPLegend, #IrfanKhan, #Tribute, #RIPIrrfanKhanSir, #RIPIrfanKhan, #Amwriting, #Blog #Blogger, #Blogging, #FirstLove, #Bollywood, #legend, #grief

January 12, 2020

The Man Who Dressed In White: A Life Worth Writing About - Part II

#Amreading, #Amwriting, #Blog, #Blogging, #Family, #Fiction, #Grandfather, #Grandparents, #India, #Indian, #Inspiration, #Love, #Motivation, #NonFiction, #ShortStories,

Read Part I Here

The Man Who Dressed In White

“Nana, why do you always wear white clothes?” I asked with the energy and impatience of a 10-year-old in summer vacations. It amused me because, after all, white is not a color often associated with the profession of law. Dark coats with darker conscience, right?

He smiled while not breaking his stare at his files and did not answer. One or two of his clients, or fareek, as he called them, might have reacted with a muted laughter, but I was not going to pay any attention to them. His ignorance probably vexed me a little, but I let that go, for the time being.
Later that night, I asked my mother the same question and her answer surprised me more than the milky white clothes of my grandfather ever did.

Vakeel Saab, as Nana was called, both with respect and affection, by almost everyone outside of his immediate family, was born in a modest family. He was the oldest of the 4 sons and second of 6 children. His father got night blindness, when he was still in his thirties. Nana and his immediate younger brother, had to grow up before their time. Education was paramount but so was the sense of responsibility towards family. Their youth was spent juggling duties, personal ambitions and collective responsibilities. The folklore of people studying under candles and streetlights, in distant villages in the India of 1940s and ‘50s, to win over their circumstances with a smile and no complaints, was true here as well.

In all this, he could neither afford nor focus on his wardrobe choices. But it was still something to worry about, especially, because he was in a public profession. He chose white because he could repeat the same clothes without being noticed. The pretense and perception of well-being was significant, even then. In those days, my mother often recalled, my Nana probably had only 2 pairs of white clothes that he wore till he could.

The years of scarcity made way for a lifetime of prosperity for both the brothers. My Nana earned his Masters and Law degrees, and worked quite literally till he was conscious, while his brother went on to have an illustrious career in the US with a Doctorate in Chemistry and served as a professor at University of Florida. But the impact of those formative years remained, and both willingly followed a simple lifestyle.

The colors of the lives that followed, never overshadowed the White that had defined his roots. Men like him, truly deserve to be called, the Sons of Soil!

His white clothes were not only a reflection of his resolve and simplicity but also told the tales of a generation’s sacrifices and resolve in the face of adversities. It is them who built this nation. It is their values that we all take pride in calling “Indian family values”.

They sowed what we reap, and that is a lesson I never forget.


My grandfather passed away last year. Over the past year, my family and I, have talked in detail about his life and legacy. But the fundamental shortcoming of reminiscing and discussing one's legacy is that it starts from the point of them passing away. We tend to gravitate towards the world that they left behind more than the memories they created on the way!  Thus, the beautiful intricacies of their life often go unnoticed.

So, to honor his life, over the course of next few weeks, I would be posting short anecdotes signifying how I would like him to be remembered.

While these stories are personal and unique, I am sure they would resonate with a larger audience. The emotions, experiences and challenges of the Greatest Indian Generation inspire us all and we grew up listening to them. It is, therefore, my sincere hope that in the life of my grandfather, my readers would find the stories of the great patriarchs and matriarchs of their homes too.

Read Part I Here